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Mallanna (Kandasamy): Movie Review

August 25, 2009

Caution: The review is too long and maybe boring to an extent.

“Mallanna” (Kandasamy in Tamil) starring Vikram, Shriya is the kind of movie which desperately tries to be unique and stylish with a half baked script. It’s not uncommon these days for directors with fancy budgets to indulge themselves in extravagance but when the end result looks patchy, its a sign to reconsider the way films are made. Vikram’s latest release after a long gap, “Mallanna” isn’t as bad as what movie critics have described all these days, however it suffers from cinematical obesity. Maybe that’s the only mistake it commits which has a devastating effect.

Mallanna(Vikram) is an IPS officer who works with the Economic Offenses wing of CBI. He raids the house of a business tycoon, PPP (Ashish Vidyarthi) and finds evidence to convict the businessman of misdemeanor. However PPP feigns Paralysis and his daughter Subbalakshmi (Shriya) promises him that she would avenge his condition. Around the same time in Srisailam, crowds throng to the temple with their wishlist and surprisingly all their financial needs are fulfilled. An IPS officer suspects foulplay and he decides to trace the one behind these string of incidents. What follows is a wild goose chase where each character tries to outsmart the others…

Leaving aside the striking resemblance which the plot of “Mallanna” has with movies like Gentleman, Indian, Sivaji and Tagore (Ramana in Tamil), the movie is riddled with artistic liberties. If you are wondering why an arrogant and uber rich chick tries to impress her ‘prospective’ boyfriend by flying him to a desert just for a cup of coffee, well… you have just been introduced to the fascinating world of masala movies. Yeah, the logical explanation would be that a song had to be shot there and hence this indulgence. Well, no one’s complaining because the cinematography by N K Ekambaram is fantastic in all those exotic locations. The major problem with the movie is that it doesn’t expect its audience to be intelligent and hence all the minute details which could have made a difference are carefully explained right in the beginning of the movie. Earlier this year, Surya’s “Ayan” stood out because of its ultra cool style and a well planned structure of unfolding the plot. This, sadly was missing in “Mallanna” and the movie for the most part survives because of Vikram’s style with a tinge of Ekambaram’s stunning cinematography and colour grading. The film also has too many subplots which tread on quagmire, if only for a little while. The moment one realises the basic premise of the movie, it’s not hard to figure out what’s going to happen next.

Ahh…after those 3 hours, one may wonder why did Susi Ganeshan and Kalaipuli S Thanu delay the movie for so long! The only logical explanation I can think of apart from some unfortunate events, is that the director must have waited for the economic crisis to end and then…tadan! He would present to the world the perfect solution to the root of all problems! Phew…so much for telling an age old story which the media has been ranting over and over again for the past several years. In the meantime, the team of “Mallanna” found their El Dorado, Mexico, to shoot some stunning scenes, sing songs, gobble enormous amount of money…all in the process of explaining the trail of black money. Fair enough. Afterall what makes a good film? People these days want some fresh ideas on screen and that’s what our film makers do too. At the same time, it would have been fantastic if the director had put the audience in the centre of all the action which is blatantly missing.

Vikram is back with a bang in this flick with his slick portrayal of an IPS officer. No wonder this extremely talented actor easily slips into a prepostorous costume resembling a rooster, and a sari too! He’s also the only saving grace of this film. Shriya’s role as Subbalakshmi has her share of ups and downs which ultimately banks too much upon the glam quotient. Apart from that the premise of her “actually” falling in love with Mallanna is silly! Among other actors, Prabhu, Krishna stand out with their honest portrayal. Susi Ganesan plays a vital role and he’s as dead as wood in his role. Why do our film directors/producers make special appearances like these? I can never understand.

Praveen K L, the editor of the movie is in many ways the sole reason why the film never really works at a subconscious level. The editing work is too patchy and within a span of 2 minutes, at times there are so many shots that it gets onto your nerves. Unsettling as well. Music by Devi Sri Prasad is peppy, although it’s hard to understand the lyrics. Allegra, Mambo…Mambo and “Excuse Me Mr.Mallanna”, are wonderfully choreographed and jazzy. Ekambaram’s cinematography is wonderful as is the DI and colour grading of the film. Art by Thota Tharani is great, as usual. Susi Ganesan who handles story and screenplay apart from direction could have taken extra care in the screenplay section.

“Mallanna” is a stunning display of what lavish budget, great acting and cinematography can achieve. It’s also an example of how too many scenes and sloppy editing can ruin an honest film. In the end, it’s upto you what you make out of this 3 hour long stylishly shot trailer! Oh…just forgot to remind you, please do write down your request for money reimbursement with an “if-else” condition and tie it to a tree in the backyard of a Shiva temple, before you watch this film. You never know, maybe Mallana is indeed lurking around. Thumbs up for Vikram and Ekambaram…thumbs down for Praveen K L and Susi Ganesan. Watch it only if you have absolutely no other choice.

-Hemanth

P.S: I do love Tamil films. I think they are among the best that India churns out. Maybe my perspective of the movie would have been different had I seen the Tamil version.

Please help my writing and movie reviews by buying me a coffee….or a movie ticket.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Sinduja permalink
    August 26, 2009 1:24 am

    I am just back from watching it and I still cant believe they took so long to make this one. Inspiring messages conveyed through the medium of films is all fine but it is high time that they realize that the message is lost with the masala if this is the way the film turns out. And the end – my god, so cliche…the hero giving his stunning smile to convey that he is going to continue with his benevolent deeds all over again. I hope there is no sequel.

    • Hemanth permalink*
      August 26, 2009 1:32 pm

      @Sinduja: totally agree with you!…lets hope there’s no sequel otherwise that would be disastrous!..

  2. varma permalink
    August 26, 2009 3:46 am

    hi hemanth
    great job. i have been watching ur blog since few days. ur writing skills r very good. hmmmmm coming mallanna film its a worst film. direction is very poor. in this cinema only one thing is good i.e vikram action. nthing else to see>>>>>>
    one suggestion: try to write ur review as soon as possible. it would b even better
    chow
    bye

    • Hemanth permalink*
      August 26, 2009 1:33 pm

      @Varma: I was caught up in organising the short film festival in Hyderabad…hence the review came up late…would try to write them as soon as possible..:)

  3. Dhileeban permalink
    August 27, 2009 9:13 am

    In whatever language you see… I heard its a mokkai.
    I am yet to give it a try. But there is a good chance I might skip it all together.

  4. RajGopal permalink
    September 6, 2009 7:45 pm

    Correction. Ramana in Tamil is remade as Tagore. Stalin is a different movie with Director of Ramana

    • Hemanth permalink*
      September 6, 2009 8:03 pm

      @RajGopal: Thanks a lot dude…have made the correction…:)

  5. Praveen kl permalink
    February 3, 2010 4:01 pm

    Although it’s a tad too late, I walked out of the film towards the last one month and the director had his own editor to screw up the flow and edits. Thought I had a need to explain. Cheers guys

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